School installs first-of-its-kind wind and solar powered defibrillator - The Rugby Observer

School installs first-of-its-kind wind and solar powered defibrillator

Rugby Editorial 21st Mar, 2024   0

PIONEERING life-saving equipment which is powered by renewable energy has been installed at Princethorpe College – the first school in the UK to do so.

The college has installed a defibrillator and bleed control cabinet which runs on wind and solar power.

The OurJay Foundation – a Rugby-based charity which fund-raises and campaigns for publicly accessible defibrillators and provides training in life-saving skills – has shared the cost of the new equipment with the college’s Parents and Teachers Association and local company Share Haulage.

Princethorpe College’s cabinet has a bespoke backboard with instructions on how to use the defib equipment – alongside an image of Jamie Rees, in whose memory the OurJay Foundation was set up.

Jamie’s mum Naomi Rees-Issitt founded the charity in 2022 in his memory, after he died at the age of 18 following a cardiac arrest.

She said: “The closest defib to Jamie when he suffered his cardiac arrest was locked in a school, so it was natural for the OurJay Foundation to focus on installations of public defib equipment outside education premises. 91 per cent of cardiac arrests happen within 500 yards of a school, but often defibrillators are behind closed doors.”

Naomi was already discussing installing a defibrillator to serve the college’s sports field when she found out about the self-sufficient Turtle Defib Cabinets, which can help to save lives in places where an electricity supply may be restricted or cost-prohibitive to install.

She added: “We wanted to see if we could install one on the sports fields, near to the main Coventry to Banbury road.

“There was no electricity supply in the desired location, so we looked to find an alternative solution. We said wouldn’t it be great if there was a renewable energy option – and then discovered Turtle’s brand-new technology being used at a golf club.

“The timing was perfect, and the cabinet met all our needs.”

The wind and solar powered defib cabinet has been installed on the college grounds – and Turtle, the OurJay Foundation and Princethorpe College have worked with the West Midlands Ambulance Service to ensure the code to the school gate and cabinet will be provided by the 999 handler in an emergency.

Princethorpe College Headmaster Grove du Toit said: “We understand that the first seven minutes are crucial when dealing with a cardiac arrest, so having the equipment close to hand and easily accessible to both our pupils and the public will be a major factor in potentially saving lives.”

Mike Dowson, Founder and MD or Turtle Defib Cabinets, who designed and engineered the UK’s first wind and solar powered defib and bleed control cabinet, added: “When we started on the research and development over two years ago, this is the positive reaction we hoped for.

“From school sports fields to public parks, from golf courses to construction sites, places that don’t have an electric supply can be readied for medical emergencies and the wider Princethorpe community can now enjoy peace of mind.”

The OurJay Foundation is also donating a wired defib cabinet to Princethorpe’s sister school the Crescent School in Bilton.

Over the past two years, the OurJay Foundation has raised over £200,000, installed 140 publicly accessible defibrillators, given 35 defibrillators to gyms, and donated 20 portable ones to grassroots sports teams – and has educated countless young people about CPR and using defibrillator equipment.

Naomi added: “Most importantly, seven lives have been saved by the medical equipment and we’re receiving more donations than ever. Thank you to all our supporters.”

The OurJay Foundation has launched a new app showing a map of all the defibrillators it has donated, and contains information and advice about what to do in a medical heart emergency. Visit for more information.

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